25 Ways to Supercharge Your Sales

January 31st, 2014 by DWM Magazine

Any door and window dealer would want to know how to supercharge their sales, or any sales professional would welcome these tips. Peter Ebner, sales trainer for the printing industry, offers 50 tips to supercharge sales but says, “It doesn’t matter what you are selling and where you are selling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $5,000 job or $60,000 job. The tips work anywhere. The only thing different is the pace–the techniques and strategies are the same. If you implement these 50 tips you will notice a dramatic increase in sales.”

The first 25 come today then stay tuned to dwmmag.com for the last 25 tips in the next few weeks.

Following are Ebners’ most important tips from prospecting to the close.

1. Don’t just focus on the product (particularly in some cases where the product is a price sensitive commodity).

2. Know what accounts to go after. 15-20 percent of prospects you contact are ecstatic with their supplier, 60 percent are satisfied, 15-20 percent are dissatisfied, and 75-80 percent can be sold, says Ebner. “Get the job and go after the profitable work but don’t waste your time going after the marginal work. Only call on profitable accounts.”

3. Know how to upsell. “You don’t want all of your client’s business,” says Ebner. “When upselling an existing account, only call on profitable opportunities.”

4. Focus on one market at a time. “If you want to make money, you must use vertical marketing to be seen as an industry expert. You want profitable accounts,” he says.

5. Call on volume accounts. Ebner encourages reps to ask themselves how much they want to earn. “If you want to make $100,000 you need to sell a million dollars,” he says. “But how many accounts can you handle? In our industry that’s about 40 and that is high. So each account has to buy $25,000 in services. If not you will never reach that million. You can’t fool the math.”

6. Make prospecting a habit. The number one reason shops close down is lack of prospecting. “10 is the tipping point,” says Ebner. “It’s not until I hit 10 that exceptional selling skills kick in. To fast track your sales make two new appointments per day. If you don’t want to do this you are in the wrong business.”

7. Call on the decision maker. That is the person who has the ability to change the specs, says Ebner. This is the president or marketing manager.

8. Never tell the receptionist what you are selling. “If you do you lose the sale, says Ebner. How to avoid it? Use an acronym, he offers.

9. Stay Away from Purchasing. Ebner says purchasing is interested in price. Can you offer them new ideas? No. Can they change the specs? No. So stay away, he says.

10. How to deal with receptionists who won’t give the decision maker’s name. “Call before 9 a.m., during lunch or after 5 p.m. when the keeper of the gate is gone,” says Ebner. “Call on sales–they will tell you anything you want to know. Or ask for accounts receivable. ‘I am sorry I am looking for your marketing manager? Who would that be? Thank you.’ The ways to get around them are really simple and it’s an easy way to increase sales.”

11. Dealing with voicemail. In most cases it doesn’t work, says Ebner but there are ways to get around it. “Don’t leave your office number,” he says. “If they do call you back they know what you are selling. Leave your first name only and don’t leave the company name.” Another idea he offers: Have them paged. If you have something of value to offer them they will be glad you made the contact.

12. “He’s expecting my call.” If you leave a message the day before, say “Hi Bob, It’s Peter, I’ll call you back tomorrow at 9:15.” Then when you call back you can say they are expecting your call.

13. Mention the benefits first then tell them what company you work for. “Never tell them what you are selling until after you have mentioned the benefits,” says Ebner.

14. Ask for five minutes of their time. Ebner says if you provide them with that escape route they will listen to you for that period of time.

15. Always close for the appointment. “Use the alternative choice close,” says Ebner. “Give them a choice between two times and they will choose one of them.”

16. Pre-plan your probing questions. “It’s what you ask that counts, not what you say,” says Ebner. “You do that in the probing period. Write them down before the meeting.”

17. Show your prospects that answering your questions is in their best interest.

18. Establish buying readiness. “You don’t quote a job unless they are ready to buy,” says Ebner. “Don’t give a complete presentation unless they are ready to buy.”

19. Establish purchasing authority. Always ask, “Is there anyone besides yourself involved in the decision making process. How many copies would you like?” That way you know if there are others in the company you may need to follow up with, says Ebner.

20. Establish a budget. This may be done when you are asking the probing questions.

21. Get permission to change the specs. This is the key, says Ebner.

22. The Paper Shuffle. “Anything you change has to be in the prospects best interest,” says Ebner.

23. Never share your ideas until they are ready to buy. “If they aren’t ready to commit tell them what you can do but not how,” Ebner stresses. “Say, ‘I can tell you how to reduce your marketing costs. Would you mind if I submitted ideas?’ You don’t go back until they are ready to commit,” he says. “They will steal your ideas and give it to next person who comes in.”

24. How to deal with the price shopper. Ebner says it is difficult to deal with someone who says, “Just quote my exact specs.” If you submit a quote you lose.

25. Your prospects don’t want choices. “They want to deal with an expert who can make recommendations. Offer solutions instead of choices,” says Ebner.

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